Spring in Japan is a time to celebrate the change of seasons as the weather gets warmer, the bugs are born again, and the flowers bloom.

Most people connect Japan with the Cherry Blossom flower, or Sakura. It features in pretty much all of Japan’s advertising and is a of national importance! Sakura trees can be found everywhere in Japan and are so important that you can follow a Sakura forecast, to show you when are where they will be in bloom. During the Sakura season, people gather under the blossoming Sakura trees in parks and eat BBQ food, drink sake and enjoy numerous beers. It is a time to celebrate natural beauty and be merry!

The only flaw in the park-based gatherings is the BBQ smell. It takes away the delicate sweetness of blossom! So Dan and I had a mission last weekend to find a space full of Sakura, free from hoards of people and BBQ aromas.

And we succeeded! We walked up to the beautiful Lake Misaka Forest, famous for it’s swans and koi carp. The surrounding scenery was wonderful! There was a white mist surrounding the mountains and the lake was a deep emerald green. It was so clear we could see the bottom and the many carp enjoying the cool water. A short hike away, we found an area full of Sakura trees and their sweet smells and free of all people.

We sat on plastic bags under the trees and enjoyed our own BBQ free picnic. It was the most perfect way to enjoy the Sakuras and celebrate the natural beauty that surrounded us. It was a brilliant day enjoying such a beautiful place a mere walk away from our home in Ayaragi!

The following day we took the short hike up Hinoyama with Jenna and Frank to enjoy the tulip flower displays and amazing views of our city from the top. The view was dramatic, with the low dark clouds over the mountains and the swirling water below…

DJ Hayman took some wonderful photos of the weekend. Enjoy…

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